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Bridget Carleton has a goal.

The Minnesota Lynx guard/forward wants to take the best of the past two seasons and combine them into one summer.

The 6-1 Carleton wants to take the offense she showed in 2020, when the WNBA season was played in the Florida-based bubble and she emerged as one of the league's bigger surprises. And she wants to take the defense she showed last summer, when asked, at different times, to guard both guards and forwards.

"My main goal, in the offseason, was to bring those two things together,'' Carleton said after Lynx practice Tuesday. "Just having confidence on the offensive end, looking for my shot. And bringing the same defensive intensity every game.''

Carleton is the Lynx's Swiss army knife. She can play three positions, from off guard to power forward, at both ends of the court. In 2020, when the Lynx — playing much of the season without injured center Sylvia Fowles — surprised many by finishing fourth in the WNBA, Carleton started 15 games, averaged 25.8 minutes and 6.6 points and hit on 45.7% of her three-pointers.

Last season, with Fowles back and both Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers signed as free agents, Carleton become more of a reserve. Her minutes ticked down a bit, to 19.3. After a slow start — she was 5-for-20 on three-pointers over the first 11 games — she rebounded to make better than 40% of threes the rest of the way.

This year, at least to start, the big minutes could be coming. McBride could miss the first two weeks of the season while playing in Turkey. That could mean a lot of opportunity for Carleton.

Ideally coach Cheryl Reeve would prefer Carleton in a supporting role, filling in when — and where — she is needed. But with McBride out that might not be possible. "The absence of K-Mac could force us to do something different.''

Reeve's offseason goal for Carleton was to become more aggressive on the offensive end. More assertive. Carleton's experience in 2021 in the Olympics for Canadian team pushed her in that direction; she became one of the go-to player for the team. Carleton chose to play in Israel over the winter, choosing a team that would let her play guard. She averaged 20.7 points, 3.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds for A.S. Ramat HaSharon.

With the Lynx this summer, there could be a lot of opportunity, especially early.

"I'm ready for anything, whatever the team needs,'' Carleton said. "I can play any position, two through four. I take pride in being able to guard different positions.''

And to take the best of the last two seasons and squeeze them into this summer.


  • Point guard Layshia Clarendon missed Tuesday's practice with what Reeve called a non-COVID illness. It's unclear when she will return.
  • Forward Jessica Shepard, her season in Italy over, was scheduled to arrive in the Twin Cities late Tuesday night. She will take part in media day Wednesday.